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Topic: Concerning Psychology
Message: Posted by: mjc (Jun 23, 2018 01:51AM)
So I have been reading an watching a lot of magic content online and there is one thing I have noticed that is happening in magic and this is psychology. I feel a lot of magic is owed to psychology. Are there any common known articles and books that get into talking about this that the community is aware of. I have not seen to much out there besides in Robert Giobbi's books. I really feel if I have a good grasp on psychology, then I have the basis to be a excellent sleight of hand magician.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jun 23, 2018 04:25AM)
"Magic" is 5% sleight of hand skills, 5% esoteric science principles, 5% perceptual illusion, and 85% PSYCHOLOGY. Perhaps, those percentages are a trifle exaggerated, but, they will give you an idea.

There are some, here, who will differ with me, about the percentages. They are welcome to argue/discuss. After 70 years of performing (20 as a part time professional, and 50 as a full time professional, working coast to coast and, border to border, I've learned a few "things".

I don't see how psychology has any direct relationship to sleight of hand skills, though.

Magic only "happens" in the mind(s) of the spectator(s).

Despite what Dr. A.M. Wilson said, eons ago, MAGIC IS N O T INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING. It's the performer's PRESENTATION, using psychology, that can make a magic show entertaining. My mentors, back in the '40s, said "it" very simply: "It aint WHAT ya do, it's HOW ya do it."

If you want to add a TRICK, to your repertoire, three things are necessary:

1. Learn how the trick is DONE.

2. Learn how to DO it.

3. LEARN HOW TO DO IT, SO THAT IT E N T E R T A I N S someone, (THAT'S where the psychology "comes in".)

"Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice." In what corner of this beautiful state, is your abode? I'm a Yooper.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 23, 2018 05:27AM)
Consider "Principles of Deception" (Buckley), "Beyond Secrets" (Sankey) and especially "magic in Mind" ( Jay).

I can send a copy of "Magic Awareness" if you request from ken@eversway.com
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 23, 2018 10:53PM)
[quote]On Jun 23, 2018, mjc wrote:
...I feel a lot of magic is owed to psychology. ...[/quote]
There are at least four distinct directions to take that question.
Magicians pattering about psychology in their performances.
Magicians incorporating findings from psychology into their methods.
Scientists making use of magic literature in their work.
Scientists studying perception, cognition and belief.
Where would you like to go?

You might like these folks: https://www.amazon.com/Sleights-Mind-Neuroscience-Everyday-Deceptions/dp/0805092811
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Jul 21, 2018 04:04AM)
Mjc
Try "The Theory and Practice of Magic Deception," on Amazon dot com.
It describes how to do magic people want to see.
Message: Posted by: Doug Arden (Jul 29, 2018 10:36AM)
Great book. Jason Randal, "The Psychology Of Deception." (Why Magic Works)
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jul 29, 2018 01:19PM)
All books mentioned above are well worth your time to READ & STUDY.

If you are "hung up" on sleights, science principles, and, perceptual illusions, and, haven't studied (and understand) the principles of psychology, you are just a guy who does tricks.

See my post, above!
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Jul 30, 2018 07:34PM)
Dick
You have no clue what my book is about.
Please don't give advice on something you know nothing about.
Al
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 5, 2018 08:22AM)
Al:

Your book is on AMAZON.

I have an IQ, that is "relatively" high. I do read books that don't have pictures! I've seen YOU at Abbott's GTG.

I know a bit more about psychology, than you may think.

I have mentored more young guys, who are now successful professionals, than you know.

I have lectured, successfully, all over the USA, for rings, assemblies, dealers, regional, and national conventions (and, have been rebooked more than once.)

I made a **** good living, performing, for more years than you've been alive.

Kindly do not lecture me about giving advice.
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 5, 2018 10:17AM)
My point is that you have not read my book.
So, how do you know you know more than me.
You always babble about psychology being so important.
But you never express what that is.
As far as I can tell, to you using psychology is telling jokes.
Can you give me an example of how you use psychology.
I also have lectured at major conventions and meetings around the country and in Europe.
I ran a magic school in Minneapolis for six years. How many magicians do you think that produced.
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 5, 2018 10:23AM)
Oh, by the way, how are your book sales.
How much money did you make after having the book edited, printed, running around the country with signings, paying for travel,food, etc.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 5, 2018 11:31AM)
Speaking of psychology we could probably use a therapist here right now.

You're both pretty OK?
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 5, 2018 12:59PM)
Danny
How did you get almost 20000 posts? Who are you to voice your opinion so much? Well, I did some research.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Danny Doyle has got chops. He is not a goldfish that has been around the glob a few times.
Mr. Doyle is someone Mr. Oslund should know because Mr. Oslund seems to know all the biggies.

Mr. Doyle, should we ever occupy the same space and time, I would enjoy talking about life over a beer.
My favorite pastime is talking to magicians about things.

Sincerely,

Al
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 5, 2018 01:18PM)
Ladies and gentlemen, I feel bad about being negative on someone elses thread. This is supposed to be about mjcs question about psychology. So, I thought I would share one of my thoughts about the subject. I think this is one of the more important issues in performing magic. I have spoke elsewhere on this forum about this subject so to old time members it is nothing new.

The subject is about being interested or interesting. An interesting performer strives for attention. He strives for response. He strives to fool the audience. This produces a performer that tends to drive the audience away. They are not seeing the magic they came to see. The interested performer is opposite. He desires that the audience sees what they came to see. He takes their interest to heart. He communicates well and attempts to be clear in what he is doing. As I speak of this the names Karrell Fox and Jay Marshall come to mind. In my mind I can see Mr. Fox making a four inch piece of silk disappear while standing on a full stage. I can see Mr. Marshall rolling a cane into a piece of newspaper. When they did this it was precise, clear and I saw magic. They were not doing it to impress me. They were doing it so I could see magic.

Perhaps this is not about magic but it is about magic.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 5, 2018 01:44PM)
It was an attempt to take the heat out of your very personal problem with Mr. Oslund that you so kindly brought to a public thread. Please take a step back before lashing out at me pointlessly.

I mean no harm, only hope that you can keep personal issues in a PM.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 15, 2018 03:22AM)
Thanks, Danny!

I've learned that the best thing to do, is to ignore him. Intelligence is one thing. Wisdom is another.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Aug 15, 2018 07:45PM)
Sleight of hand is one possible method to explain a magic performance. A method to accomplish an effect.
For example effect folks here have seen card fan productions performed. Consider the inside or backstage view of the hand doing that sleight of hand. And admire the skill. Keep that view and admiration of skill in mind for a moment. In my opinion such awareness shifts a performance into the realm of juggling. What [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Moschen]Micheal Moschen[/url] called "contact juggling" to be specific. We call it "manipulation". The rest of the world knows it as juggling. It's a recognized art.

Magic is a different art. Magic is what you'd feel if you were backstage watching those card productions and could see an empty hand ... till the cards appear... then more... and still more cards appeared... but you knew it's also a trick - those cards have to be somewhere, right? :D
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Aug 15, 2018 08:46PM)
I lost focus reading the original post, missing the subject statement. [quote]On Jun 23, 2018, mjc wrote:
...I feel a lot of magic is owed to psychology. Are there any... known ... books that get into talking about this...[/quote]where "this" = psychology useful in performing magic.

Al wrote [url=https://www.amazon.com/Theory-Practice-Magic-Deception/dp/1466206497]a book on that topic[/url].
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 18, 2018 11:11AM)
Dick Oslund
Do you have either?
Of course you cannot respond because you ignore me.
He He.
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Aug 21, 2018 11:07PM)
I have always contended that magic IS in fact Inherently Entertaining/Interesting. In fact in a recent post I noted that again. I've just changed my mind. That is, I reframed 'how I think magic is seen/experienced by spectators'.

Here's the thing I suddenly realized as I reviewed a bunch of magic I have witnessed over the years: Most magic tricks/routines are pretty interesting. (I contend that generally the longer and more complicated the routine the less magical it "tends" to be. That's a related issue.) The problem is almost always that there are folks who do/perform magic that are simply dreadfully boring. And, it's them, themselves. They don't want to be boring. No one 'wants' to bore folks. I have seen lectures by big time exponents of various subjects the material of which was really compelling, but the presentation of which had me wanting to jump off a tall building. It wasn't the material. It was the presenter.

This is something that is simply not talked about. It's ignored, because no one wants to tell another that their performance could put a Meth Head to sleep. Can this situation be "cured"? Maybe.

The fact is that there are folks who can do a trick/routine perfectly. The moves, the patter, etc. And, still there is something lacking. If you could find a pill for it or a fruit that grows in an isolated valley in the Amazon...you could make a lot of money.

What's the 'take away'? It's all connected. IF a person really, REALLY wants to improve their performance it would behove them to find one, possibly two pros that they trust and believe in to rib what they do apart and offer advice on how to make it better. That would include a discussion with video of HOW the performer looking to improve looks while they perform. It's humbling and hurts like the dickens.

Final note: Just because you are paying someone to help you improve is not to say that you cannot argue for something one way or another. It's the interaction and willingness to learn from the process that will make the improvements over time.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Aug 22, 2018 09:40AM)
Re: Brad's comments:

To quote many many people in show biz over the years (including our own Dick Oslund): It ain't what you do, it's how you do it.

It's not just magic. I've been in live theatre most of my career, and I've seen actors take a perfectly good character or story and sound like they're reading the telephone book. Then again, I've said many times that some people, like the late Victor Borge or Robin Williams, could probably stand up there reading the telephone book and have the audience rolling in the aisles.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 22, 2018 11:27AM)
To quote The Who "It's the singer not the song, that makes the music move along".
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 22, 2018 01:51PM)
Hey George! Thanks for the quotation!

I'm not a rock and roller (at my age!) but, I like Danny's comment, also.

But, you guys gotta remember, according to that "matrix magician", I don't know "nothin'" about what I consider to be 85% of what makes, magic, magic.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Aug 25, 2018 06:30PM)
@Dick, if you would like to share a specific example of where your theory does better than what's been offered so far - please do.

Some words to distinguish our craft from others: the matter is how to use harmless trickery to entertain. There's a trick, a con involved. The standup comic tells a joke - a short con to elicit a perception of the absurd as amusement. Our cons are aimed at a different emotional response; to sense the double bind of known expected reality versus perception. The humor is in seeing how much we don't really see.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 25, 2018 09:45PM)
To be fair Dick The Who are not far from your age!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 26, 2018 05:24AM)
[quote]On Aug 25, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:
To be fair Dick The Who are not far from your age! [/quote]

Hee hee! Thanks for "them words" Danny! I think though, that I'm more of a Lawrence Welk guy! I played his home town several times! --Strasburg doesn't even have a McDonalds!!! It's what circus people call a "high grass town"!

Mentioning Mr Welk, brings up a "question". What's the difference between an onion and an accordion:? -- Nobody cries when you cut up an accordion.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 26, 2018 06:15AM)
[quote]On Aug 25, 2018, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
@Dick, if you would like to share a specific example of where your theory does better than what's been offered so far - please do.

Some words to distinguish our craft from others: the matter is how to use harmless trickery to entertain. There's a trick, a con involved. The standup comic tells a joke - a short con to elicit a perception of the absurd as amusement. Our cons are aimed at a different emotional response; to sense the double bind of known expected reality versus perception. The humor is in seeing how much we don't really see. [/quote]

Thanks for the "invitation", Jonathan, but, I would rather not. --Anything that I would say, would just get insulting comments from that "matrix person". I have learned to ignore him.

I don't get into conversations with those who resort to ad hominem arguments.

Nowhere in this thread have I suggested that I have any better ideas than anyone. I was just a successful performer. on the road, all my life. I never had to ASK for a tour. Managers would call me, to ask when I was available. (I must have been doing "something" right. I was never "at liberty".)

Gene Anderson has a bit of "farmer philosophy" (Gene grew up on a farm in Minnesota.) Gene advises: "Never wrestle with a pig, You both get dirty, and, the pig likes it."
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 26, 2018 07:05AM)
[quote]On Aug 21, 2018, Brad Burt wrote:
I have always contended that magic IS in fact Inherently Entertaining/Interesting. In fact in a recent post I noted that again. I've just changed my mind. That is, I reframed 'how I think magic is seen/experienced by spectators'.

Here's the thing I suddenly realized as I reviewed a bunch of magic I have witnessed over the years: Most magic tricks/routines are pretty interesting. (I contend that generally the longer and more complicated the routine the less magical it "tends" to be. That's a related issue.) The problem is almost always that there are folks who do/perform magic that are simply dreadfully boring. And, it's them, themselves. They don't want to be boring. No one 'wants' to bore folks. I have seen lectures by big time exponents of various subjects the material of which was really compelling, but the presentation of which had me wanting to jump off a tall building. It wasn't the material. It was the presenter.

This is something that is simply not talked about. It's ignored, because no one wants to tell another that their performance could put a Meth Head to sleep. Can this situation be "cured"? Maybe.

The fact is that there are folks who can do a trick/routine perfectly. The moves, the patter, etc. And, still there is something lacking. If you could find a pill for it or a fruit that grows in an isolated valley in the Amazon...you could make a lot of money.

What's the 'take away'? It's all connected. IF a person really, REALLY wants to improve their performance it would behove them to find one, possibly two pros that they trust and believe in to rib what they do apart and offer advice on how to make it better. That would include a discussion with video of HOW the performer looking to improve looks while they perform. It's humbling and hurts like the dickens.

Final note: Just because you are paying someone to help you improve is not to say that you cannot argue for something one way or another. It's the interaction and willingness to learn from the process that will make the improvements over time. [/quote]

Thank you Brad, for your change of mind!

When I was a teenager, in the '40s, I would buy the dealers' 'left over' magazines *(@ half price!). Dr. A.M. Wilson's op/ed page in the "SPHINX", had a fancy masthead. The good Dr. had written: "Magic is an art that sometimes instructs, often amuses, but, always entertains."

I was just beginning to perform, I was 15. I lived in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. HE was a doctor, a publisher/editor of a "big" magazine! I thought that he must KNOW. I believed him.

For a couple of years, most of the magicians that I saw perform were school show magicians, and circus/carnival side show magicians. They were all good, (Some of the school show magi were "gooder"!

Then, I joined the Navy. I was stationed in a big city (on the east coast). I went to a magic club meeting. Most of the "magicians" worked with "cans, pans, tubes, boxes, and red velvet bags on a stick"! I suddenly realized that Dr. Wilson was perhaps a nice man, BUT, he was living in "a dream world"!

It was obvious! Magic was not inherently entertaining! My mentors (mostly school show magicians) had always said: "PRESENTATION is what makes a magic show entertaining. --OR: "It aint WHAT ya do. it's HOW ya do it!" I had those words, "tattooed" on my brain!
Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Aug 26, 2018 09:32AM)
Presentation and showmanship is a given in entertainment, even in more serious performance arts. I doubt anyone argues that these are dispensable.
As Brad Burt says, "It's all connected."

What distinguishes magic, however, is the impossible effect. In one sense (only one facet of the diamond), "effect is everything"--just as in stand-up comedy the laugh is everything or in a classic tragedy the catharsis is everything. To provide a specific example, Jerry Seinfeld has worked relentlessly honing his material, *** good jokes, which are inseparable from his inimitable delivery.

I know the argument is perennial, and I really believe it is healthy to hold these elements in tension during the creation process, but ultimately I still fall into the camp of Maskelyn and Devant, Ortiz, Giobbi, and what I have studied of Haydn. I like to balance these thoughts with writings by Maven, Burger, and Berglas. Maybe these are some of the thoughts that Jon refers to as what has been said before...
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Aug 27, 2018 04:50AM)
My personal belief is that magic like many other arts is not inherently entertaining. I have seen too much bad magic that confirms this. There is nothing fun about watching someone blandly deal cards out yet again in a different pattern and asking you where your card is. The reality is the interest and entertainment is what we as good magicians bring to the table. There is a weak link in every effect we do... it's called the method. Our job is to take people on a journey that focuses on the impossibility of what we propose and leads them away from the method to create something that in retrospect will have been impossible in their minds. The interest and entertainment values are what we bring to each effect and no... not all magicians are created equally.

"The true skill of the magician is in the skill he exhibits in influencing the spectator's mind. This is not a thing of mechanics. It is not a thing of digital dexterity. It is entirely a thing of psychological attack. It is completely a thing of controlling the spectator's thinking. Control of the perceptive faculties has nothing whatever to do with it. Convincingly interpreting, to the spectator, what the senses bring to him, in such a way that the magician's objectives are accomplished, is the true skill of the skilled magician." - Dariel Fitzkee, Magic by Misdirection
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 27, 2018 09:21AM)
Thanks for that great post, Ray!

It's quite evident that "thee" and "me", and, Dariel Fitzkee, think/thought alike!
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 19, 2018 11:07AM)
[quote]On Aug 27, 2018, Ray Pierce wrote:
..."The true skill of the magician is in the skill he exhibits in influencing the spectator's mind. This is not a thing of mechanics. It is not a thing of digital dexterity. It is entirely a thing of psychological attack. It is completely a thing of controlling the spectator's thinking. Control of the perceptive faculties has nothing whatever to do with it. Convincingly interpreting, to the spectator, what the senses bring to him, in such a way that the magician's objectives are accomplished, is the true skill of the skilled magician." - Dariel Fitzkee, Magic by Misdirection [/quote]

Thanks for the reminder about this book. Curious how he describes [i]what the audience interprets and what inner story the audience builds from their perceptions[/i]. Narrative.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Sep 19, 2018 05:30PM)
I've always agreed without thinking that magic is not inherently entertaining. But I'm going to switch that up as I'm thinking about it now. I think that the moment of magic [i]is[/i] inherently entertaining. It is magicians who are not inherently entertaining.

Take the magic itself. You walk up to someone at a bar, grab his beer bottle and whip out a half dollar. Then you have him hold the neck of the bottle as you slap the coin against the underside of the bottle, and the coin appears [i]inside[/i] the bottle. You walk away without a word. I think that is inherently entertaining. It's magic! It's stunning! The people who saw it will be talking about it, trying to figure it out, laughing about it, and poring over the bottle with coin. Watch them from a corner of the room, and you will see people who are entertained in the sense of having surprise, enjoyment, a diversion, and being engaged.

If someone encounters magic unexpectedly in the midst of their day, they are entertained. If they are walking down a sidewalk and suddenly see a woman levitating in the air, they will be surprised, intrigued, and delighted in the apparent impossibility. Likely, a hundred passersby will whip out their phones and put it on YouTube. Put the same levitation on stage with a lame magician, and all the entertainment is sucked out of the magic.

A magician who will, as Ray posits, "blandly deal cards out yet again in a different pattern and asking you where your card is," will have destroyed the inherent entertainment in the moment of magic by surrounding it with garbage.

I think that moment of magic is, indeed, inherently entertaining. Magicians and magic tricks, however, are not.

Okay, tell me why I'm wrong.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 19, 2018 09:27PM)
The audience needs to convince themselves that magic is happening. They hear what they hear and see what they see. They do their own thinking. From Fitzkee to Schneider there's much to read about that thinking.

For the working performer that audience experience happens
* after the audience agrees to be led and
* after they've convinced themselves to take what they see at face value and
* after they're sure what they are seeing is not consistent with the world as they know it and
* after they decide to interpret the events as a harmless entertainment - to know they've been tricked and enjoy the trickery.

Diversion ( ;) ) We don't usually say laughter is the entertaining part of comedy. Laughter is how we outwardly respond to comedy. It's the desired outcome of a comics performance.

The coin in bottle is a fine example effect. They need to be okay with you showing them a bottle and a coin. And then they need to convince themselves that (that) coin is now in the bottle. Practical performing concerns need to get you into and out of that demonstration. You need to say something while getting the props into place. How much story you put into your comments is up to you.
"Folks might not know it but glass is a liquid. There's a museum where a drip of glass has been flowing for a hundred years. [url=https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/worlds-slowest-moving-drop-caught-on-camera-at-last/]Really.[/url] But it's not quite like water. You can drop a coin into a fountain and hear a splash. ..."
or...
Everybody knows bottles don't go around eating half dollars on their own. That's not what folks used to mean by "milk money" or why we don't use glass bottles so much anymore."

https://smp.uq.edu.au/pitch-drop-experiment
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Sep 27, 2018 02:54AM)
Psychologically speaking, any form of entertainment or art form is meant to "move" those who experience it. The movement happens in the mind and is catered to, through the experience. Ergo, all art is psychological. I believe however that the more important aspect of art is the emotional. Imo, when we can touch our audiences on a visceral level, then we have accomplished true art. The feelings experienced by those in attendance, will move each person differently but on the way to the same place. Almost like mass hypnosis, a collective experience is had. At least that's what I'm trying to do with my performances. It's also great if I can leave the people with some tool that they can use in life to help them in times of distress. That too, is a psychological aspect of my work.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Sep 28, 2018 05:27AM)
[quote]On Sep 27, 2018, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
At least that's what I'm trying to do with my performances. It's also great if I can leave the people with some tool that they can use in life to help them in times of distress. That too, is a psychological aspect of my work. [/quote]

I have found in 62 years of performing that the knowledge that what I can have an affect on someones is psychologically motivating for me. I don't have to see it happen to know that someone in my audience will go way better prepared for life than when they arrived. Many make the mistake (opinion) of need affirmation or acclaim in order to support the notion of affect. Wrong! That is to only "believe" or "Hope" that what you do is art or produces affect or inspiration. "Knowing" is a different matter. Like creativity, it needs no affirmation, proof or recognition.

However, being human, it is nice to have someone approach 30 years later and tell a friend how much you performance changed their life.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Sep 28, 2018 09:26AM)
[quote]On Sep 28, 2018, funsway wrote:
[quote]On Sep 27, 2018, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
At least that's what I'm trying to do with my performances. It's also great if I can leave the people with some tool that they can use in life to help them in times of distress. That too, is a psychological aspect of my work. [/quote]

I have found in 62 years of performing that the knowledge that what I can have an affect on someones is psychologically motivating for me. I don't have to see it happen to know that someone in my audience will go way better prepared for life than when they arrived. Many make the mistake (opinion) of need affirmation or acclaim in order to support the notion of affect. Wrong! That is to only "believe" or "Hope" that what you do is art or produces affect or inspiration. "Knowing" is a different matter. Like creativity, it needs no affirmation, proof or recognition.

However, being human, it is nice to have someone approach 30 years later and tell a friend how much you performance changed their life. [/quote]

Friend Funsway~! I agree with your thinking.

Over the past 60 years, I have had the wonderful, and humbling experience of young men telling me that my performance, and my mentoring, have had a very positive influence, and, have changed their life. I have never kept a record of how many!

A number of those young men, are now firmly established, as full time, successful, professional magicians. Others are active performing amateurs.

Thank you for your comments above which caused me to realize how many lives I have affected.